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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France Wins 19-9, Takes Third Place

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Lock Olivier Roumat and wing Emile N'Tamack scored second-half tries Thursday to lead France to a 19-9 victory over England, good for third place in the Rugby World Cup.


Center Thierry Lacroix added three penalties to become the tournament's leading scorer with 112 points as France ended a string of eight straight defeats to the English and gained an automatic berth at the 1999 World Cup.


The defeat was a bitter ending to the tournament for England, which won a thrilling quarterfinal over defending champion Australia but was soundly defeated by New Zealand in the semifinal and finished fourth by losing Thursday.


Flyhalf Rob Andrew accounted for all the England points with three penalties as the English bid to establish a running game failed due to poor handling and a lack of speed.


Both France and England won all three of their pool matches and had hopes of reaching the final. The disappointment of losing their semifinal matches last weekend carried over to the first half of Thursday's match.


Lacroix and Andrew traded penalties in a ragged 40 minutes that ended at 3-3. Fumbles and poor passes abounded, and both kickers missed opportunities they had exploited regularly in previous matches.


Intensity picked up in the second half with France's running attack pinning back the English and bringing two more Lacroix penalties while Andrew answered back with one.


Then Roumat capped a concerted French surge by piling over the try-line to give France a 14-6 lead, and N'Tamack's try on a powerful run in the final minutes sealed the victory.


Lacroix surpassed Scotland's Gavin Hastings for the tournament points lead.


A subdued crowd of 44,000 attended the match on a crisp, clear evening at Loftus Versfeld.